Archives for October 2013

Map & Advice For Uptown Halloween Decoration Hunting

Below is a map with the location marked of all of the Uptown New Orleans Halloween decorations mentioned in yesterday’s post. If you want to set out tonight to give your favorite ones a closer inspection, hopefully this will serve as a useful resource in planning your route.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of customizing a route, here’s my advice: Definitely drive St. Charles from downtown to Carrollton. Except for the projection house at 2nd and Magazine, skip this major artery and instead drive back on Pitt or, if you don’t want to deal with the potholes and stop signs, Prytania, (though you’ll have to witch to Prytania when you hit the Touro district).

The biggest concentration of decorations are ‘west’ of Jefferson, so as you make your way back downtown, I’d weave through some of the  streets running towards the river, prioritizing in this order: Octavia, State, Nashville, Calhoun, Walnut.

Happy Halloween Hunting & Haunting, and if you like this resource, be sure to share on FB and then email to let me know. If the response in enthusiastic, I’ll compile a similar resource at Christmas!




MYOMG Guide to the Best (And Worst) Halloween Decorations in Uptown New Orleans

One House Wasn't Afraid to Show Their 'Skeletons In The Closet'

One House Wasn’t Afraid to Show Their ‘Skeletons In The Closet’

I always get excited like a little kid when Halloween decorations start popping up all over town and, knowing New Orleans‘ reputation for going to extremes, I knew I’d be in for a treat my first year here. Perhaps the best Halloween city I’ve lived in prior was Richmond, Virginia where people in ‘The Fan,’ a triangular neighborhood of turn-of-the-century row houses that would fit in Uptown architecturally, culturally, and even physically (New Orleans is composed of pie pieces rather than blocks, like a Trivial Pursuit marker in a Salvador Dali painting!), decorate with abandon, particularly on Hanover Street (I believe) where practically every resident gets in on the act creating unbroken block after block of creepy fun.

This House Will Strike Your Funny Bone

This House Will Strike Your Funny Bone

Although the decorations in this town are some of the best I’ve seen, I was disappointed to find they weren’t concentrated anywhere such as Hanover Street. In fact, I only came across one intersection where all four house are decorated. So I took off on my bike and spent the past few weeks scouring Uptown so I could share the best Halloween decorations with you to help with your holiday hunting.

But You Have To Read To The End

But You Have To Read To The End

But first, a few clarifications. My definition of Uptown was broad. I biked down every street running along the river between and including Tchoupitoulas and St. Charles from riverbend to Callipoe/CBD. Although I didn’t hit every cross street (though I did hit the major ones where I noticed decoration density) I did pass every intersection and peer down every block. I’m sure there’s something I missed, but I was pretty thorough. Above St. Charles, because of street geography, I hit every street running towards the river from the riverbend past Carrollton to Napoleon, all the way up to Claiborne.

To Find The Location Of This House

To Find The Location
Amongst 7 Must-see Stops

I provide a location so you can find all these places, and use directional terms not according to the compass, but New Orleans style. Thus, East mean toward Downtown, West Uptown. North is towards the lake and South towards the river.

Some decorations went up late, and I later passed through areas that I’d scouted earlier to find new displays. While I included these, I didn’t purposefully double back through all areas. Also, peering down side streets isn’t a perfect method, though most good decorations stand out from a distance. The biggest drawback were night decorations. I did most of my biking by day, and unnoticed places turned into masterpieces at night. Once I realized this, I scouted again by truck and bike again, though less thoroughly. Fortunately lights are visible at great distances so I did the best I could though I’m sure I missed a few prime spots.

So that being said, please enjoy the MYOMG 2013 Uptown Halloween Decorations Guide & Awards and be sure to scroll to the end for the 7 Must See Haunts! [Read more…]

Halloween Weekend in New Orleans, Part 2: An Epic Krewe de Boo-Boo


2013-10-26 17.26.10Growing up, I often remember my parents saying: “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times . . .” before reiterating some life lesson. Well, New Orleans might as well just come out and say, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, you can’t plan things in this city, you just have to let the magic come to you.”

And Friday had been a magical day with Camellia Grill being an experience my 13-year-old guest will long remember, later followed by an unexpected to bloodletting to add a little real life fright to our night. The day had been more sublime than I could have hoped to engineer, but Saturday I wasn’t leaving things to chance. I had our night at the big Krewe of Boo parade planned out perfectly.

I should have known I was screwed. [Read more…]

Halloween Weekend In New Orleans, Part 1: New Eyes & Old Fears


2013-10-26 22.16.12

A Nightmare on Magazine Street

Halloween has long been my favorite holiday, challenged only when I first came to New Orleans just prior to the turn of the millennium to become a Mardi Gras maniac. Christmas is the sentimental standard-bearer in most of American culture, but I’ve always said that Christmas is for kids, whereas Halloween is for adults to act like kids. Since I don’t have children to help keep my Christmas spirit alive, Halloween wins in a landslide. Still, as I wrote in my last post about the Audubon Aquarium, as much as I nurture my inner child and fight becoming curmudgeon, it’s difficult not to lose some to the wonder of the seasonal celebrations that hold so much meaning in my life. Perhaps that’s why I hold on so fiercely, afraid that if I lose my attachment to that seasonal rhythm that I’ll fade into yet another uninspired drone drifting towards death.

This year in particular, though, is my chance to rekindle the wonder since New Orleans is not only Mardi Gras central but a top worldwide Halloween destination with a history steeped in voodoo and haunts. The weekend before Halloween is as big as the holiday itself, and I had the chance to not only see the holiday but the city itself anew through the eyes of a child . . . err, teenage; after all, what can be more frightening than [Read more…]

New Orleans Tourist Attractions: The Audubon Aquarium


2013-09-28 13.28.10When visiting America’s most culturally rich adult playground it can be difficult to find family-friendly New Orleans Tourist Attractions, particularly around the French Quarter. Bachelor/bachelorette parties and conventioneers seeking to misbehave can prowl the French Quarter 24 hours, but when I’ve had friends with children visit I’ve taxed my brain to weave together an agenda, for there are only so many hours you can browse the souvenir shops on Decatur and gorge on beignets at Café du Monde. Fortunately, the Audubon Institute has your back.

2013-09-28 12.57.30If you have family-will travel, there is always the famous Audubon Zoo (where they all axed fo’ you!) Uptown which was rescued from decrepitude a few decades ago to become a world class attraction. If you’re wanting to stay near the French Quarter—tourist ground zero—you are still in luck, for the Audubon Institute  offers three attraction: An Imax Theater showing nature movies and an occasional national blockbuster, an Insectarium which aims to show the beauty of nature’s most misunderstood and abundant creatures, and Audubon Aquarium right on the banks of the Mississippi. I recently visited the latter on a lazy Saturday afternoon in my quest to explore and share about New Orleans Tourist Attractions, finding [Read more…]

My Krewe Debut: Mor-pheus Fun, Less Drama


All Hail The King! (And Happy Birthday!!!)

All Hail The King!
(And Happy Birthday!!!)

After months of searching, querying, and inquiring like Desperately Seeking Krewes-man, Friday night I finally met members of my new home in Krewe of Morpheus. In addition to the monthly meetings that started in August, Morpheus holds two majors social event: The Captain’s Crawl in the French Quarter every spring and this night of booze, buffet, and bowling at Rock-n-Bowl.

The event was scheduled from 7:00-9:30 and I arrived at a quarter after, somehow missing this landmark near my home that I’ve passed a hundred times. Paul Leman, the Morpheus president (I wonder if he has brothers in banking?!), was taking names at the door as I arrived. He asked what float I was on and I shrugged. “Kim . . . something.” I then added that I’d been emailing with Connie Hibben, the membership director who recently gave me the green light to use names, and explained how I joined to blog my experience. He introduced himself and pointed out the lanes reserved for the Krewe and our buffet table, promising to come over and make introductions once he was settled.


The Krewe Congregates

The Krewe Congregates

I spent a few minutes weaving through groups gathered to bowl or just chat, but was a little reticent about making an approach. “Hello, I’m Eric and I just joined out of the blue not knowing a dang soul!” I might as well tattoo NEWBIE on my forehead. I did attempt a few stunted introductions before realizing my admission covered beer and wine, so I fled to the bar and then started mowing through shrimp crostini, mini-pizza’s, chicken wings, and jambalaya. Once again, New Orleans 1, Restraint & Healthy Eating 0!

Fortunately Paul soon wandered over and introduced me to the Krewe Captain, John Beninate who is so Mardi Gras that if he were in an accident, EMTs would have to hang three different blood bags: purple, green, and gold.

John & Judy

John & Judy

John reminded me of [Read more…]

From Sudden Super Heroes to Ubiquitous Saints & Bearded Legends: Weirdness & Wonder in New Orleans


2013-10-05 17.00.30It’s been a busy three weeks since my birthday though not much of this wonder and weirdness has coalesced into blog posts. Tonight, though, I finally met my Morpheus mates at Rock-n-Bowl and I’m excited for the true kick off to My Year of Mardi Gras (though that’s how I felt about the Chewbacchus kickoff that turned out to be somewhat of a dud). In between turning 20 for the third time and tonight’s Mardi Gras meet-up, I did have a weekend that seemed to encompass all the wonder and weirdness that makes New Orleans such a unique city all in one compact weekend. In fact, if this sensuous city had a an alter ego, it’s be Wonder & Weirdness Woman.


It’s always more natural to shirk productivity and explore your own town when you have a visitor. This was the case the weekend before last when my college friend Mike drove in from Pensacola. We have roots deeper than a bayou Cypress so when he apologized about our miscommunication during my pre-birthday stop in Pensacola I just laughed it off. It was just a catalyst for an unanticipated adventure, and I’ll always associate that all night drive to an obscured beach sunrise with this landmark birthday.

camelliagrill3Mike arrived too late Friday night for two old farts to head out, so we stayed up late chatting.  Saturday, after a late start and amazing breakfast at the famous Camellia Grill, one of the best ‘greasy spoons’ in the nation where the fast talking waiters are as much a draw as the canoe-sized omelets, we set off on a frantic mission. My writer and LSU professor friend Chris had for years shared pictures of the annual Super Hero Bar Crawl that one of his best friends hosts on his birthday, and now that I’m in town had sent me an evite which I managed to not read until Thursday night. A Super Hero Bar Crawl is [Read more…]

Read Beans On Monday: Nine Lives by Dan Baum


Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans

by Dan Baum

Nine Lives is yet another stirring and beautiful book about New Orleans that will captivate and mesmerize you from the opening page. This book delivers exactly what the title promises, 9 separate life stories that are woven together to read like a novel, though these are actually people whom Dan Baum met while covering Katrina for the New Yorker. Some of the lives intersect casually, some intimately, and some never meet at all. They all come from different walks of life and varying social strata in different parts of town, yet Baum recognized that each had an amazing story to tell and by combining them, he tells the history of the city starting with Hurricane Betsy and winding through the post-Katrina recovery.

This is the genius of the novel. Although [Read more…]

New Orleans Tourist Attractions: NOLA Brewing Tour

13-09-27 Me at NOLA Brewing

So it’s Friday afternoon, you’re visiting New Orleans, and you’re looking for something to do. Or better yet, you’re a local with the day off and want to enjoy your town without feeling like a tourist. Then I’ll let you in on a not so well kept secret: NOLA Brewing Company does a free ‘tour’ every Friday from 2:00-3:00. Get there early, though, because there’s sure to be a line: This isn’t your typical beer nerd tour.

I can say that, having toured many breweries in my day. My best friend lives outside Milwaukee and has taken me on several beer tours including the highly entertaining and educational one at Lakeside Brewery where they have you chant the three actions of fermenting yeast—“eat, eat, eat; shart, shart, shart; screw, screw, screw!”—and  then sing the Laverne & Shirley song at tour’s end. One of the best assignments I ever had working for a Jacksonville magazine was to do a story on all the local breweries leading up to their annual craft brew festival. Anything but the briar patch, says Brer Rabbit! Plus I’ve taken several Jacksonville visitors on the free Budweiser Brewery tour where they offer a whitewashed version of their history (Adolphus Busch didn’t just ‘think up’ the word Budweiser, it’s a region of central Europe with it’s own brewing technique and namesake brewery that sued the crap out of you) and you get two free beers at the end.

All these other tours were medium to heavy on education and light on beer. Usually you get two free samples even at—heck, especially at–Budweiser who, according to my interview with Bold City Brewery, spills more beer in a day than they brew in a year!

But [Read more…]

Read Beans On Monday: Surviving Hurricane Katrina by Mary Gehman


Surviving Hurricane Katrina

by Mary Gehman

hurricane-ivanYesterday I wrote about how the Morpheus, the god of dreams, made my Mardi Gras dream come true. Today I turn my attention to the near-incomprehensible nightmare of Mary Gehman, a writer, researcher, publisher, and professor who tried to ride out Katrina in her Mid-City home, only to find herself embroiled in a week-long ordeal that hit most of the archetypal Katrina images: rising waters in the home, stranded on an overpass, lack of food and water while helicopters hovered doing nothing, hell at the Superdome, and a disorienting bus ride to destinations unknown.

I am taking a different approach with today’s review. This is not a book or even a published article. Mary (I’ll her first name because I feel like I know her intimately after this account) owns a small independent press, Margaret Media, and dedicated a page on its website to this 29 page, single spaced document.

I learned of Mary’s account Friday after [Read more…]